The Tin Whistle

counterculture history and conspiracy theory

Subliminal Advertising and other Rabbit Holes

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Screen Shot 2015-10-14 at 9.14.59 AMIn the Fifth Century BC, Histiaeus was the ruler of Miletus on the western edge of Turkey when Darius enlisted him in his war against the Sakas, the most under-appreciated culture in world history, probably because they spread cannabis use to China, India, Europe and the Middle East from their original home somewhere in the Ukraine. The Sakas domesticated the horse, invented the wheel, built the first covered wagons and were the greatest horsemen and archers of their time. They preferred to trade, however, and had captured a large chunk of the silk, spice and drug trade when Darius decided to go to war against them. Darius had conquered most of the known world and sought to subdue the mighty Saka empire. (It didn’t happen. The Sakas just kept migrating away until Darius gave up chasing them.)

Histiaeus was placed in charge of guarding the key bridge across the Danube and entered into complex negotiations with the Sakas, who wanted that bridge destroyed. Afterwards, he was sent to Susa as punishment, where he plotted a return to power. When ready to launch his revolt, he shaved the head of a slave, tattooed the Persian battle plans on it, and then waited for the slave’s hair to grow before sending him on a secret mission. This was not a case of subliminal messaging, but steganography, an art-form frequently employed by spooks to this day. In fact, any photographic image can be secretly embedded with maps or text messages only those with a decoder can decipher and these images can be posted on innocuous websites that seem to contain harmless content. Happens every day.

Screen Shot 2015-10-14 at 9.09.38 AMIn 1974, Wilson Bryan Key released a shocking expose on the print media claiming advertisements in the mass media were airbrushed with secret messages, mostly obscene words and sexually-charged shapes. In 1957, Vance Packard had published an expose on the advertising industry’s latest techniques titled The Hidden Persuaders. Packard’s book had been a bestseller and Key pushed his book as the latest developments in the industry. After reading it, many became convinced the media was conspiring to program the American population, especially after James Vicar claimed to have conducted a study proving subliminals in films worked.

There was only one glaring problem: it was all complete hokum. Vicar invented the study and when asked to replicate it, the hoax was unveiled. Likewise, instead of investigating the industry and interviewing people involved, Key had confined his research to photographs in magazines and newspapers. After much meditation, he began locating the word “fuck” in just about every newspaper and magazine photo he looked at. He especially liked analyzing shapes in ice cubes and claimed ice was employed to more easily hide the sexual image.

Unfortunately, this information ran like a wildfire through the counterculture. I first became aware of the theory when High Times did a cover story on Key’s book. Instead of exposing the scam, High Times presented it as real info. Thus a major rabbit hole was seeded into the counterculture collective unconscious, one that could have easily been disproven with a smidgen of gum-shoe research. It’s a hole many others would follow.

The modern equivalent of that great subliminal advertising hoax is the current trend for examining mass media for clues about shootings and other terror events, as if these events are being orchestrated years in advance by a satanic cult with immense power that seeks to reveal their power and control by planting clues in film and TV months or even years before the event. Mark Passio, one of the characters pushing this type of meme, has hundreds of hours of video you can watch free online. But watching this video is a form of mind control itself, and certainly not a mechanism for unveiling mind control. The more hours you log, the more you fall into his rabbit hole. But like Key before him, the dots being lined up here do not connect, and in another twenty years this hoodwink will become clear.

Written by Steven Hager

October 14, 2015 at 10:21 am

3 Responses

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  1. Thanks for the interesting read. So how would you describe the obvious depictions of sexual themes in Disney movies? A coincidence?

    Can you provide links to Mark Passio’s subliminal videos, I’d like to have a look. Thanks


    October 20, 2015 at 7:07 pm

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